To Test-Prep or Not to Test-Prep?

It happens around this time every school year. Testing looms just after spring break and instead of thinking about the experience my students have in my classroom, instead of caring about their love of reading and writing or what they hope for in the future, I start worrying about how well they will bubble. I get fed all of this test-prep garbage and because, "Noriko, accountability is important," I've swallowed it all.

This year I don't want to. I want to go old school. I want to trust that if I've taught my students how to think, if I've done my job and given my students reading and thinking strategies they should do just fine. Am I morally obligated to do our school's test prep program that feeds into an accountability system that year after year discredits our school system, my teaching and my students' learning? Or am I morally obligated not to do the test prep?

Will one year of Ms. Nakada make a difference? If my students do not review the process of elimination, proper bubbling technique and test-release questions this year, will it make a difference to students who know school as a testing factory? I'm not sure it matters in either direction, but would I be failing my students if they got the year off?

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